Waterfall Swallet - Hidden Waterfall near Eyam

Hidden Waterfall near Eyam
Location: There aren't many 'real' waterfalls in the Peak District, and there are none quite so accessible as this one on the road between Eyam to Foolow. If you go looking for it don't expect to find it spouting forth from some nearby hill or crag. This waterfall is hidden below ground level. Looking across the fields all you will see is a small group of trees huddled around, and hiding a deep depression into which a small stream falls. It's a little gem and well worth a visit if you're in the area. But..... Please Note: the waterfall is on private land. Please respect the rights of the landowner and get prmission before visiting.

Technique: Although the light was poor - an overcast day, in a dark pit surrounded by trees - there was plenty of reflected light from the surrounding snow and 'white' limestone walls. This made exposure difficult. I normally use Aperture priority (for depth of field) but judging by the histogram I was getting clipping of both shadow and highlights. So I used Manual exposure with a fixed aperture of F/8, and dialled in a speed of 1/20sec that gave me a 1ev underexposure. (Its always easier to recover shadow detail than blown highlights). I knew that I then had sufficient margin (+/-2ev) in post processing to be able to balance shadow and highlights in the snow. My only regret was not having a tripod with me. In retrospect, by slowing the exposure to say 1 or 2 sec. I could have blurred the water and given the impression that the waterfall was much fuller than it was.


Camera Work: RAW(12 bit); focal length 18mm; Exposure Manual, F/8 @ 1/20sec. ISO100

Post Processing:
  • In Nikon View NX: applied Landscape Picture Control (adjusted for sharpening, +8, and brightness -1).
  • In Nikon Capture NX2: reset White Balance Gray Point to 0.94(red), 1.06(blue) using a marquee sample of the sky; reduced exposure a further -2ev; increased highlight protection 30% and shadow protection 88% then added Black & White points in rock and snow resp. and reduced the luminosity of the white point (to add further detail in the snow).
Q: why the need for such large scale changes, given an already reduced exposure in camera? What went wrong?

A: on comparing the histogram in camera to that in NX2 there was a marked difference - the camera histogram was more compressed, showing a lot more highlight detail had been captured. NX2 showed highlights were badly clipped.

Moral: the in camera histogram cannot always be trusted when shooting in RAW. I am told the histogram represents the equivalent JPEG capture. In this situation I would have done better to consult the camera's Highlights playback screen, which indeed showed highlight problems. Thank goodness for RAW post processing packages like NX2!!

In conclusion I shall definately be paying this area of the Peaks more attention in the future - the geology is fascinating. For further info its well worth visiting http://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/79581/middleton-dale-geology-trail.pdf

1 comment:

  1. not allowed to visit this one anymore says has signs up saying PRIVATE PROPERTY NO TRESSPASSING

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